University Park, Pennsylvania: Penn State University Press, 2011. Hardcover isbn: 978-0-271-04891-8. $82.95. Softcover isbn: 978-0-271-04892-5. $34.95.How did an obscure country-house tutor—one whose only acknowledged publication was a translation of an ancient Greek historian—suddenly emerge in middle age as a major philosopher, a founding figure of the new discipline of political science? The usual answer is that, having begun his career working within the studia humanitatis—history, poetry, rhetoric, Hobbes experienced an intellectual conversion on encountering an open copy of Euclid in a continental library. He turned his back on humanism and embraced geometry, using its austere deductive method to dispel the confusions that had hitherto prevented a proper understanding of the laws of civil life. At this ‘phased’ version of Hobbes’s intellectual development Ted H. Miller takes aim in in his ambitious, wide-ranging, and beautifully produced book.Miller’s Hobbes never abandoned humanism. In adopting a mathematical approach to philosophy he drew on a widespread and highly-prized culture of mathematics that had long been integral to humanism and which flourished in early-modern England. The opposition modern scholars have drawn between the mathematical reasoning of Hobbes’s mature philosophy and the procedures of humanism is a false one. In developing his philosophy in mathematical
Hobbes Studies – Brill
Published: Mar 13, 2017
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